Here are the first nominations sent in for books to be put in our ‘African Top 50’ collection. The girls at the African Science Academy in Tema are completing a project in the next month as part of their community service programme, where they will be compiling a list of favourite African works, based on reviews and recommendations. The finalised 50 books will then be placed in all Reading Spots libraries. The purpose of this is to promote the importance of fiction and non-fiction in Ghanaian libraries that is relevant to the African context, and to support African publishers and authors in their work.
This is an ongoing document with several more reviews to add – please do send any suggestions of your own to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Chest of a Woman by Efo Kodjo Mawugbe
Recommendation from the English teacher, Sawer Cofie.
My Top 50 African writer is Efo Jodjo Mawugbe. This drama I would like to recommend is entitled In the Chest of a Woman. It tells how customs were made by men and that men had the right to amend customs and traditions. This is strongly depicted at the end of the play when the crowd orders the executioner to halt the killings, because it is the people who made the customs, and if so than the same people can unmake the custom.
The play is set in the ancient Ashanti Kingdom, and focuses on the life of a woman who desires to see her daughter become ruler of the Empire and has therefore her disguised as a boy from birth – a secret she strives to hide.
Junior High Level Books
Ananse in the Land of Idiots by Yaw Asare
Recommended by Felicia Sainene and Joshua Frimpong from Abofour
From Felicia: This book contains four chapters and sixty pages. The book contains a moral lesson. First of all the book teaches how to be kind and the importance of the willingness to answer any question given to us. Secondly, the book teaches us to be creative and how to comfort ourselves in some places. The king in the story is my favourite character because he is very kind to people and forgives people if they offend him. Ananse is the bad character in the book because he tricks people for money.
From Joshua: This story teaches us to be creative and critical in our thinking; we have to use our mind to create something for others to know our talent. This story also teaches us to forgive people who offend us and forget it. We must be very generous to people of all kinds. We must also learn to behave in some places and encourage people when they act in a good way. We have to love our neighbour as ourselves, as Jesus said.
Primary Level Books
Beautiful Bananas by Elizabeth Laird
Nominated by Joseph Edward Addae, aged 11 from Abofour
The name of the best African book is Beautiful Bananas. Beatrice was the lucky character of the book. The reason why I like the book is that it is funny, because if you just look at the exciting pictures in the story, you can see it is humorous. And also, the girls in the book acts very well, and is very brave. She met three wild animals and two domestic animals. The wild animals were: lions, elephants, and giraffes, and the domestic animals were monkeys and a bird. She was scared of these animals but she had the courage to carry on. She was a good person because she was taking bananas to her grandmother. Therefore I leant that this means you should be kind to older people in your society, and everywhere you go. Another moral is that you should not fear failing or setbacks.
The Clever Tortoise by Gerald Rose
Recommended by Tahini Issiah from Abofour
Since I started schooling, I have read a lot of African books, and they are all interesting. However, the one I prefer is The Clever Tortoise, by Gerald Rose, a Ghanaian. The reason why I like this book best amongst the rest, is that it teaches us that we should be smart and clever in our thinking and actions. Tortoise was not strong, and even though Tortoise did not use her strength, at the end she was able to say that “I am as strong as you are”, to the hippo and the elephant.